How to Find Writing Clients and Great Paying Assignments
It’s the question most often asked …
“How do I find clients and great paying assignments?”
Let’s start by breaking it down into two smaller questions …
First, “WHERE do I find clients?”
If you’ve chosen any form of copywriting as your path, Google is going to be your first stop for a little research …
Ask yourself, who are your ideal clients? What types of companies do you want to work for, and in what industry?
For example: publishers or supplement marketers in the health industry, product suppliers in the pet industry, professional service providers, etc.
(This assumes you’ve already chosen a niche. If you haven’t yet taken that step, go here to learn the easiest way to choose a niche.)
Then ask yourself, who are their customers? And how do those people find them?
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and run a few searches on Google …
For example, if you’re looking for potential clients in the health industry, you might search for “alternative health newsletters” or “dietary supplements” or “free report on weight loss.”
If you’ve chosen a particular niche, you can also search for things like:
- Associations/Trade Organizations
- Membership Sites
- “Best of” Lists (Like “Best Pet Supply Companies 2018”)
Give it a shot!
You’ll quickly find pages and pages of potential clients.
From there, you want to filter them into a manageable list of companies who clearly value their direct-marketing efforts — and, therefore, your writing services. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:
- Real companies (not blogs/information repositories).
- Professionally designed website.
- Well-written (persuasive) copy.
- Lots of content.
- Multiple marketing channels (examples: e-newsletter, sign up for a free report followed by a series of emails, sales copy, direct mail, social media, etc.)
- They have something to sell (not just affiliate products).
And, if you’re looking at magazines and associations in your niche, look for people advertising and exhibiting at trade shows. They clearly have money to spend on their marketing efforts, and they’ll want to ensure those expenses get a high return.
That’s where you come in!
And Google is just one place to find new clients …
If you’d like more, check out our free webinar on 26 ways to find freelance clients.
Now, once you have a list of potential clients, the next question you’ll likely ask is …
“What do I do once I find them?!”
The thing to remember when approaching a potential client — regardless of how or where you found them — is that you have two primary goals:
You want to establish a relationship.
The chance of your reaching out to someone at the exact time he or she needs your services is pretty low. It may take a few times emailing or making phone calls back and forth, so you need to be patient.
The important thing is to focus your efforts on just establishing that connection with the potential client, so they know who you are and how to contact you once they’re ready to roll.
And, while it should go without saying, remember that first impressions matter. So always be professional and courteous whenever reaching out to prospective clients. That way, your future follow-up efforts will be welcomed.
You want to show your value.
Even if you’re brand-new and it’s your first potential client, you have something to offer. And it’s of value. So, make sure you do your homework and show clients just how valuable you can be to their company.
How do you do that? Here are some ideas …
Get to know their audience and products …
If you really want to impress a client, spend some time reviewing their website and marketing materials.
Even simply signing up for their e-newsletter, looking at their homepage, and reading a few pieces of online content will give you a lot of intelligence on who their audience is and what they’re trying to sell them.
Including a few specifics about your familiarity with their audience and what they’re trying to accomplish will go a long way in starting (and continuing) the conversation.
Find the money pages …
If you’re doing anything with web writing, it’s easy to discover the pages companies are using to sell their products or services. And, once you find them, open the conversation with something like: “I have some ideas for new content that may drive more traffic to this page. How well is it converting?”
Identify opportunities/weaknesses …
Do they have an e-newsletter? Do you receive emails after signing up trying to sell you something? How’s their online content? Is there an angle you could use to target their audience that’s different than what they’re doing?
Any time you can spot something that needs improving, or something they’re not doing, you have a good way to begin the conversation.
And, once you have some success, share those stories!
Everyone loves a good story! So, as you build your writing business and begin to acquire success stories from clients, work them into your follow-up strategy. Stories are a great way to get yourself in front of the client again and again. For instance …
- “I was recently able to double the response rate for a client with a few simple changes on their landing page …”
- “A client’s traffic tripled after I created and implemented this content strategy …”
- “My Money-Making Website just ranked #1 for the search term _____ …”
- “I increased revenue by 30% simply by changing the format of a client’s autoresponders …”
Again, this comes into play down the line, once you’re up and working for paying clients. But it’s always good to think ahead!
Just remember, your initial goals are to establish a relationship and demonstrate your value …
So, make sure you’re professional, courteous, and providing relevant information every single time you reach out to a prospective client.
You’ll get many more responses and land more paid assignments!
For more insights on landing great clients, check out the archives of Inside AWAI, our free monthly webinar series focused on helping you achieve your writing and financial goals.
Do you have any questions about finding or approaching clients? Share with us in the comments below so we can direct you to more resources.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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